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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

I hope that this Easter Week has been for you a time of profound joy. As I watched the (at times torrential) April showers over the last few days, I was reminded again of the gift of water as celebrated at the Easter Vigil, and the renewal of our own baptismal promises to live more fully as members of the Resurrected Body of Christ. Spring is starting to manifest itself, and the signs of new life are all around us, inviting us to participate in renewal.

I am hearing anecdotally that “numbers were up” at our Easter services last weekend, and I hope you’re feeling as encouraged as I am by that news. We know that attendance isn’t everything, but it’s easy to see that the Holy Spirit is up to something in our Diocese. The Season of Spiritual Renewal is underway, and I am excited!

Nearly 15 years ago, parishes across the Diocese of Toronto embarked on a two-year fundraising project that would raise the largest pool of funds ever collected. Our Faith – Our Hope engaged the effort of 183 parishes and raised $43,000,000. Parishes retained 40% of all initial funds raised, and parishes and individuals could apply for additional funds from four program areas. We also distributed $1.5 million through three gifts of $500,000: to the Anglican Military Ordinariate to fund the office of the Bishop Ordinariate in perpetuity; to the Council of the North to support regional gatherings of clergy and lay leaders; and to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund to improve maternal, newborn and child health in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada. New life.

As I announced at Synod in November, the time is approaching when another campaign – one with a preferential focus of supporting parish-based ministry – needs to be considered.

To meet the spiritual and material opportunities for God’s Church today and for the future, the Diocese will assess the feasibility of a campaign later this year. Much like the Cast the Net consultation, we hope to meet with clergy and laity from across the Diocese to give as many voices as possible an opportunity to share their thoughts.

If the response to our study is favourable, all parishes and congregations will be encouraged to participate sometime between 2025-2027. Full campaign expenses will be covered by the Diocese, and parishes will be assigned professional coaches to assist in achieving their goals. Because healthy parish life is central to our mission, the largest portion of funds raised will be allocated directly for parish needs.

Our current estimate is that parishes should be able to retain at least 55% of funds raised locally in support of their respective goal, and then 100% once their goal is surpassed. Hopefully this provides a strong incentive to give! I hope it also demonstrates a mutual understanding that investing in ministry has the biggest impact at the parish level.

While it cannot be known for certain, I believe a diocesan goal of $50,000,000 is within reach. I know this target sounds ambitious – because it is. Yet, as we emerge from three years of malaise induced by the pandemic, an injection of funding inspired by a common cause might just be what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do.

We are blessed with a generous community that has come together with a common heart and spirit when we needed to – and we can do it again. Through your participation, your stewardship and your generosity, we can respond to the needs of our people and pass on our faith to future generations who will also experience God’s love and live into the New Life of Christ in the Diocese of Toronto.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto